As life gets busier and busier, it can become difficult to set up formal mentoring relationships. But, the truth of the matter is that everyone has a few minutes to spare and lots of people like to give back and share their expertise, but the time commitment may scare some people away from establishing formal relationships.
For successful informal mentoring relationships to work. The most important thing to do is nurture these relationships, so that when you need their help in the future they may be available to assist you.
Here are a couple ways that you can build and nurture these relationships:
Keeping Your Promises
You are as good as your reputation. Your reputation is built on your ability to keep the promises you make. For example, you have committed to sending a contact name on a specific topic. In your calendar, jot this action item down with the promised date. If for some reason you are unable to provide the contact, send the person a quick email letting them know that you are still working on this. Then move this item to another date on your calendar so that it doesn’t slip your mind.
Be strategic in your follow-up strategies and connect when you have a specific purpose. For example, if you just read an interesting article on a subject that you spoke about, send the article with a nice note saying that you thought they may find this interesting. Sending holiday cards is also very important, as that is a good time to acknowledge that person. There are many creative ways to follow up with specific contacts throughout the year, such as leaving them a voicemail wishing them a happy birthday. Keep your eyes open for ideas. If you want this relationship to grow, you will want to give this person priority when it comes to following up with them. It’s these little things that differentiate you from everyone else.